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Scarface (Universal Cinema Classics) (1932)

Paul Muni , Ann Dvorak  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley, George Raft
  • Format: Black & White, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: United Artists
  • DVD Release Date: May 22, 2007
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000N3T0H8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,225 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Scarface (Universal Cinema Classics)" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

One of the most influential movies of all time, the original Scarface is an exciting story of organized crime's brutal control over Chicago during the Prohibition era. Academy Award winner Paul Muni gives an electrifying performance as Tony Camonte, an ambitious criminal with a ruthless drive to be the city's top crime boss. Produced by the legendary Howard Hughes and directed by Howard Hawks, this compelling tale of ambition, betrayal and revenge is a groundbreaking masterpiece that influenced all gangster films to follow. Filmed during the "pre-code" era before censorship shaped the way movies were made, "this powerful gangster film is the most potent of the 1930s" (Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Quintessential Gangster Film of The 30's! July 31, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
A gritty, fast-paced gangster film that ranks among the best. Made with a purpose in 1932, take into consideration for example the complete title; 'Scarface: The Shame Of A Nation' and the beginning credits that ask you 'what are you going to do about it?', very straightforward but naïveté aside this is one of the best gangster films of all time. Paul Muni delivers a powerful performance, he is a driving force throughout the movie. Muni plays Tony Camonte, a character that is more than 'loosely' based on Al Capone. He easily dominates every scene he's in except one or two scenes that get stolen by Ann Dvorak as his sultry little sister. George Raft is equally impressive as Tony's best friend and partner in crime. Boris Karloff, fresh from the success of 'Frankenstein' just one year earlier, also appears as one of Tony's competitors. Ann Dvorak is excellent as Tony's sultry sister who is also in love (or is it lust?) with Tony's best friend (Raft). Scandalous at the time particularly because of the unhealthy relationship between Tony and his sister. Those hints of incest are still kind of shocking today. Some of the elements were taken from real life like the 'St. Valentine Day Massacre' for example and the name 'Scarface' is directed at Al Capone himself. The ending is a knockout. An intense and brutal gangster drama that's brilliantly directed by Hawks. A remake was attempted in the 80's with Brian DePalma and Al Pacino in the role of Tony Montana, but was much more graphic and violent not to mention overlong. This remains the best of the Scarface films. From a scale of 1-10 I give this film an 8!
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
----- * IN A NUTSHELL: NO GLAMORIZING OF PUBLIC ENEMIES HERE -*

A dark and dank insight into the depraved and exciting world of bootlegging gangsters at their worst.

WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT: [WARNING -- CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS BELOW]

Tony Camonte [Paul Muni], is the lead, and a character patterned after Al Capone (also called "Scarface")but not in every way. The obviously amoral Camonte gradually seizes control of the bootlegging racket, from Johnny Lovo (Osgood Perkins), his boss, through a series of barbaric murders which eventually include Johnny Lovo. Apparently, Camonte's ambition is translated into brutality as his sole constructive force, which is hardly constructive at all. There is no bargaining, communicating or making deals, Camonte simply kills everyone that stands in his way even if it is really not needed. I think I counted 26 murders in the film, but others have stated that they counted 28.

BACK TO THE ACTION:

After bumping off his boss Lovo, with the aid of henceman Guino Rinaldo [George Raft], Camonte took up with Lovo's mistress, Poppy [Karen Morley]. Though he has lusted after Poppy from the start, Tony has shown oddly incestuous interest in his own sister, Cesca [Ann Dvorak] that seemed more emotionally deep than that for his newly found trophy girl. There were hints about the incestuous nature of their relationship throughout the film with their mother, who Tony never implied was anything more than a domestic servant, constantly warning Cesca about Tony's intentions in veiled but unmistakable language.

Believe it or not, there is actually humor woven into "Scarface" throughout, with one of the best examples being the murder of Gaffney, [Boris Karloff] while he was bowling.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An early gangster film and a cinema landmark May 26, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I see reviews here dating back to the year 2000. This review is for the Universal Cinema Classics release of Scarface that came out in May 2007. First off, the video and audio on this print are excellent. There is no hissing in the audio, and there are very few artifacts in the video. The extras are another matter. First there is an introduction by TCM host and film historian Robert Osborne who provides the same excellent short introduction that he would were Scarface playing in prime time on TCM and he were introducing it there - no more, no less. The only other extra is an alternate ending scene for Scarface. There is no commentary track, which is a shame considering this film, along with "Little Caesar" and "The Public Enemy" form the founding trio of the gangster film in the sound era of the motion picture.

As for the movie itself, it is based on real events that happened in the criminal career of Al Capone, although Capone's criminal career had already ended with his conviction on charges of tax evasion six months before this film was released in April 1932. You know you're watching a Howard Hughes production when, during the first scene, a bar employee is sweeping up after a party held by one of Chicago's big gangsters and finds a bra among the confetti. The film shares some aspects with its gangster film predecessors - Tony Camonte is motivated by a desire for power just as Edward G. Robinson's Rico was in "Little Caesar", and also like Rico takes over the gang from a boss he perceives as weak. However, Camonte doesn't seem to have the pent-up rage of Public Enemy's Tom Powers. When Tony performs acts of violence it is usually related to gangland business.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Too little Raft too much Muni
The movie, while being the seminal gangster movie, isn't the thrilling ride one would expect it to be. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Barbara Schamberger
5.0 out of 5 stars See The Original That Inspired The Remake
For those who did not know this was the first scarface, the al pacino version is a remake of this one. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tom Brooks
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best
Simply the best version of the "scarface legend" ever made -- to date.
Muni's "Scarface" is far and away 1,000 times better than
the Al Pacino... Read more
Published 2 months ago by John R Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars HIGH DRAMA & COMIC RELIEF
This film about the Chicago gangster era during Prohibition was made in 1931 and thus better reflects the times than any modern remake. Read more
Published 2 months ago by The Curmudgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars I can see why Scarface is a classic.
Based off the 1929 novel Scarface, this predecessor to the 1983 Scarface with Al Pacino, a great classic in the mob genre, is just as good as it's younger version. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rodney Falberg
4.0 out of 5 stars The dark world of 1932
A look at the hay day of the mob, dark, very entertaining, much better than the modern version. Worth watching again.
Published 3 months ago by The man from Idaho
5.0 out of 5 stars 1st Scarface
This was the first movie Scarface. It stars Paul Muni. It was a part of a cycle of gangster films at the time, while it was a serious gangster film, it also "manages both to... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Robin W
4.0 out of 5 stars Scarface Review and Analysis
In 1930 two things happened in Hollywood. Firstly, what was to become the MPAA drew up plans for new censorship of all movies either made or played in the United States. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nathan Korosec
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to movie and cinematic style
Interesting to see Muni in this role because he's really a thug. The film is an introduction (if you are taking filmmaking) to how a mood is set with light, sound and no dialog.
Published 4 months ago by Patricia Farrell, Ph.D.
4.0 out of 5 stars Paul Muni and George Raft
I rented it a few years ago and decided I should have it, just because. Violent - lots of car crashes. Read more
Published 6 months ago by MsKoali
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